Hammersmith Bridge closure

On 10 April 2019, Hammersmith and Fulham Council informed us that Hammersmith Bridge would be closed immediately for safety reasons, after its weekly inspection discovered micro fractures in the cast iron pedestals securing the suspension bridge.

The bridge will be closed from midnight to 5pm on Sunday 29 March for the Boat Race.

About Hammersmith Bridge

Hammersmith Bridge is owned and maintained by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF). Transport for London (TfL) is responsible for managing bus services across the bridge.

It was built in 1887 and is one of the most loved and most photographed Thames crossings. It is a Grade II* listed structure. Because of this, both parts and tools often have to be custom made, which can be costly and take a long time to produce.

It has a very high traffic volume for its age, with more than 20,000 vehicles crossing it every day. Up until 2015, TfL was sending 100 buses an hour over the bridge. It was never designed to carry this volume and weight of traffic and the constant vibration from those vehicles damages the bridge and road surface.

Major repair works to the bridge are now required. The refurbishment work will include overall strengthening of the structure and an improved road surface.

We are working with Hammersmith and Fulham (H&F) Council and TfL to keep residents informed of impacts as a result of the closure.


Restoration works

On Monday 2 September 2019, Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Transport for London confirmed that works have started on repairing Hammersmith Bridge.

Following a detailed investigation by a team of world-leading specialist engineers, TfL and H&F Council agreed on the future requirement of the bridge. The first stage of the restoration programme (concept design) has now begun and TfL has provided £25 million to pay for it.

The restoration is expected to take approximately three years. Once completed, it will enable cars and buses (including the heavier electric single-deckers) to cross the bridge. But to prevent future damage, we will continue to limit the flow of buses on and off the bridge.

TfL and H&F Council are looking at the most appropriate funding for the next phase of construction, ahead of the planned procurement and award of a contract for the next stage of the works in spring 2020.

Early estimates indicate the work could cost £120 million, which includes a contingency. Engineers will continue to refine this estimate as the project progresses.

Preliminary works (November 2019 to June 2020)

In November 2019, Hammersmith & Fulham Council and TfL confirmed preliminary repair works on Hammersmith Bridge will commence late November/early December 2019.

Whilst the full restoration project is still in the planning phase, the bridge’s decorative cast iron housings need to be partially dismantled to provide access for thorough investigation of the bridge’s structure and for surface preparation.

Setup for this dismantling and preparation phase will start on Monday 25 November, with works scheduled to start in the following weeks and run to June 2020. This phase is funded by the initial funding of £25 million from TfL and is being carried out by Kier.

Working hours

  • Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
  • Saturday 8am to 4pm
  • Sunday: No works

Works noise and access requirements

  • Grit blasting on the bridge will start on Friday 6 March. It is expected to take place for approximately three weeks, Monday to Friday, from 9am to 12 noon and from 1 to 5pm. It will inevitably be noisy, but to reduce noise it will be done in encapsulated scaffold areas
  • There will be a generator on the Barnes side of the bridge - this will produce a hum/vibration but will be housed inside cabins to minimise this
  • Welfare cabins have been positioned away from residential properties where possible
  • All deliveries will occur during working hours only (allowing for a one-hour grace period)
  • Riverview Gardens: From Monday 25 November, traffic will not be able to turn into Riverview Gardens from Castelnau. Access will be via Clavering Avenue. Traffic will still be able to exit Riverview Gardens onto Castelnau
  • No parking bay suspensions are planned but may be implemented at the request of Kier and its contractors

Public access and transport

  • Pedestrian access will be maintained via safe diversion routes
  • Cyclists will need to dismount and push their bikes across the bridge
  • Motorcycles and scooters will no longer be permitted on the bridge and will need to seek alternative routes to cross the river
  • Hammersmith & Fulham Council and TfL have advised us that the complex nature of this project may mean they need to completely close the bridge (to pedestrians and cyclists) occasionally and at short notice. We would advise anyone regularly crossing the bridge to draw up alternative routes, just in case
  • The Met Police have asked Hammersmith & Fulham Council to close the bridge for safety reasons on Boat Race day (Sunday 29 March) from 12 midnight to 5pm
  • Access restrictions will continue to be reviewed on a fortnightly basis


For complaints or queries specifically relating to work on the bridge during this time, please contact TfL on 0343 222 1234 or visit TfL Help and Contact.

Temporary bridge

Richmond Council have reviewed proposals for a temporary traffic bridge and met directly with one of the proponents of this (Beckett Rankine).  However, the concept has a considerable number of challenges and we share the view of both Hammersmith & Fulham Council, TfL and the Government, that this is unfeasible.

To date, the bridge has successfully stayed open to pedestrians and cyclists allowing vital access to transport links north of the river. However, allowing access does limit the pace at which restoration works can be done. To address this, TfL are proposing to install a temporary walking and cycling bridge.

The proposed temporary bridge is a seven-metre-wide, prefabricated steel structure, supported by two piers in the river. The bridge would be step free and have a 5.5-metre-wide carriageway for pedestrians and cyclists. It would be accessed by shallow ramps from Queen Caroline Street on the north bank and from close to the junction of Castelnau and Riverview Gardens on the south bank.

Richmond upon Thames, along with Hammersmith & Fulham Council, is a Planning Authority for the temporary bridge and will be jointly determining its approval - we expect to receive the planning application in April. Before then, TfL would like to gather your views on the proposal.

Further details about the proposed temporary bridge, along with a feedback form will be available from 14 March 2020 on the TfL website.

Public drop-in exhibitions have been cancelled. TfL have taken this decision in order to safeguard the community from exposure to the coronavirus.

Views must be submitted by 11.59pm on 22 March 2020 via:

Extension of Dial-a-Ride service

TfL has extended their Dial-a-Ride (DaR) services to meet the needs of customers with mobility issues who live near Hammersmith Bridge.

Residents living within one mile of the bridge who meet Dial-a-Ride​’s membership criteria can call a dedicated helpline to arrange for assistance to take them to a pre-agreed location on the other side of the river.

Check if you are eligible at tfl.gov.uk/modes/dial-a-ride/.

Richmond Council survey on Hammersmith Bridge

While the responsibility for the design and delivery of the bridge refurbishment lies with Hammersmith and Fulham Council and TfL, we are asking them to consider the needs, concerns and suggestions of Richmond upon Thames residents and businesses.

Council survey

In June and July 2019, Richmond Council conducted a survey to establish how the closure of the bridge to vehicular traffic is impacting the local community.

Over the six-week informal consultation, 2,707 local residents and businesses submitted their views on areas such as traffic congestion, air quality, parking, accessibility and public transport. They were also asked on their views on the bridge's future. The feedback has now been evaluated and a report has been passed onto Hammersmith and Fulham Council and TfL to be considered.

See the full report (pdf, 1.1 MB).

Public meeting

On Wednesday 19 June over 500 people attended a public Q & A event at St Michael and All Angels Church in Barnes. The panel included the Leader of Richmond Council, Gareth Roberts, Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Stephen Cowan, Chair of Richmond Council’s Transport and Air Quality Committee, Alexander Ehmann, senior officers from Richmond Council’s Environment, Traffic and Engineering services and representatives from Transport for London (TfL)

See the presentation (pdf, 1.6 MB)

See the video of the 6.30pm session.

See the video of the 8.15pm session

Frequently asked questions

View changes to public transport

Who is responsible for the bridge?

Hammersmith Bridge is owned by H&F Council, which is solely responsible for its up-keep. Transport for London is responsible for the bus services that cross the bridge.

Why is the bridge closed?

In 2015, H&F Council began a series of thorough reviews. The scope was to check all aspects of the bridge’s structure. These weekly safety checks included using new sensor technology to assess if the stresses being imposed on the bridge were causing structural damage.

The safety checks revealed that over decades the bridge’s bearings had seized up due to corrosion. This has caused the bridge’s natural and necessary flexibility to become compromised. The bridge was closed to motor vehicles in April after engineers discovered hairline micro-fractures had started to appear in the iron casings around the pedestals of the bridge.

How long will the bridge be closed for?

At this stage, it could potentially take three years for the full repair work. A contract for the main works will be awarded in Spring 2020.

What are the different stages for delivering the work?

The full project is split into three key stages:

  1. Concept design (up to Spring 2020)
  2. Procurement of design and build contracts (expected Spring 2020)
  3. Build work (tbc)

Hammersmith and Fulham's engineers advise they cannot give an exact estimation of how long the repair programme will take, although design work is expected to be completed in Spring 2020.

In November 2019, H&F Council and TfL confirmed preliminary repair works on Hammersmith Bridge will commence late November/early December 2019 and run to June 2020.

Who is going to pay for the work?

TfL have put forward £25 million for early works. H&F Council is working with TfL to identify funding for the main construction.

Is the bridge safe to cross? Who can use it?

The safety issues which have led to the bridge closure are due stress from the weight of vehicles on the bridge.

The pedestrian walkways are open to walkers and runners. Cyclists can use the bridge, but from Monday 25 November must dismount and push their bicycles.

The bridge is currently closed to all motor vehicles including cars, vans and buses. From Monday 25 November there will be no access to motorcycles and scooters.

There are currently no safety concerns for boats passing under the river. If this changes, restrictions will be communicated.

How are you managing the impacts of the closure on traffic and the environment?

TfL is providing us with regular updates on the traffic flow and volume as a result of the closure, which allows us to review traffic management plans (e.g. traffic lights) as appropriate.

We have requested mitigation funding from TfL to support traffic management and physical deterioration repairs on our roads as a result of the closure.

Any non-critical roadworks in the borough will be reviewed in consideration of the additional impact on traffic and public transport. For any emergency works, transport measures will be put in place to best ease traffic congestion.

We have a static air quality monitoring site on Castlenau (Barnes) as well as one in Teddington.

What is being done to help those impacted by the closure?

TfL has made changes to bus routes to provide alternatives routes to reach Hammersmith, or other main transport links.

We are working with local businesses and business associations to assess the impact of the closure on business.

Residents and businesses can give feedback on how the closure is impacting them through our survey. Please note this survey is not a part of H&F Council and TfL's formal planning for the future of the bridge.

What is being done to help people with mobility issues cross the bridge? E.g. a shuttle service

H&F Council and TfL are considering options to make crossing the bridge accessible for all, without using alternative routes.

Both welcome suggestions at bridgeproject@lbhf.gov.uk.

Will Richmond residents be able to have a say on the current impacts and on the plans for the bridge?

Decisions around the future of the bridge are made by H&F Council and TfL. 

Richmond residents were able share their thoughts and ideas on the future of the bridge at two public meetings and through a survey (see above for details).

H&F Council and TfL have made their decision about the future of the bridge, but we will work closely with H&F Council and TfL to make sure our resident's needs, concerns and suggestions are taken into account while the bridge remains closed during repairs.

How will the bridge be used in the future?

Hammersmith Bridge is Grade II* listed, meaning it is a "particularly important" structure "of more than special interest". Listed structures require special consideration under the planning system, in order to protect them for future generations. Read more about Historic England Listed Buildings.

H&F Council is aiming to refurbish the bridge to full working order, but safety is always the priority. It is considering many options, including new, alternative bridges and tolling the road.

What about a temporary bridge?

Due to the significant petition put forward by our residents, we are seeking a meeting to review the possibilities of a temporary bridge.


Updated: 17 March 2020